Consultant: Ecosystem Valuation

United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment)
Home-Based / Remote
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
International Organization
Experience Level: 
10+ Years
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


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Result of Service

Contribution to the work stream on guidelines and methodology on valuation and policy application for ecosystem accounting.

Work Location

Home based


Expected duration

The duration of the contract will be for one (1) month.

Duties and Responsibilities

UN Environment is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment. Its mandate is to coordinate the development of environmental policy consensus by keeping the global environment under review and bringing emerging issues to the attention of governments and the international community for action. UN Environment Ecosystems Division works with international and national partners, providing technical assistance and capacity development for the implementation of environmental policy, and strengthening the environmental management capacity of developing countries and countries with economies in transition.

The Project “Natural Capital Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services” has been established to advance the knowledge agenda on environmental-economic accounting, in particular ecosystem accounting, by initiating pilot testing of the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting Experimental Ecosystem Accounting (SEEA EEA) in five strategic partner countries to the European Union (EU): Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa. The objective of the project is threefold: a) improving the measurement of ecosystems and their services (both in physical and monetary terms) at the (sub)national level; and b) mainstreaming biodiversity and ecosystems in (sub)national level policy-planning and implementation; c) contributing to the development of internationally agreed methodology and its use in partner countries. The United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity are the implementing agencies. This project is funded by the EU. The focus of the consultancy will be a contribution to the work stream on guidelines and methodology on valuation and policy application for ecosystem accounting.

In addition, the consultant will contribute to The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) for Agriculture and Food project that aims to protect biodiversity and contribute to a more sustainable agriculture and food sector based on an internationally agreed methodological framework, introduced in the G8+5 context by the EU, addressing the economics of ecosystems and biodiversity.
The project will bring together governments, business and other key actors (stakeholders) from civil society to implement activities with a view to influencing decisions and behaviors in partner countries.

The consultant will work as part of the Ecosystem Services Economics Unit, Land Management and Biodiversity Branch.

1. Duties and Responsibilities:

The consultant will undertake the following activities:

Activity 1 : Write a report on the impacts of the COVID19 pandemic on agriculture and food systems

The consultant will produce a report (30-40 pages) on the impacts of the COVID19 pandemic on agriculture and food systems with a focus on biodiversity, pollution and climate change outcomes; including an analysis of scenarios that might apply given the measures/interventions that governments have available to them.

Activity 2: Incorporate findings from country-level work into final guidelines on valuation of ecosystem services in the context of the SEEA-EEA

The consultant should ensure that the results from the country-level work are integrated into the development of final guidelines on valuation of ecosystem services in the context of the SEEA-EEA, the draft of which have been contracted separately.

Specifically, the consultant will

a) Develop a set of questions to solicit feedback on the draft guidance document when it is sent out for expert consultation.
b) Provide the final set of guidelines (circa 120 pages) on ecosystem valuation and valuation-based policy applications in the context of SEEA-EEA. The guidelines should include examples (e.g. in text boxes) of country best practices of ecosystem valuation and lessons learned from the application of valuation techniques in the five countries that are part of the project.
c) Develop a proposal for a bridge table that would allow bridging between welfare and exchange values for ecosystem services
d) Provide a short summary note with emerging insights from the SEEA EEA revision process on valuation and what the implications are for the guidelines.
e) Align guidelines to SEEA EEA revision process. Participate hereto in meetings of the WG 5 of the SEEA EEA revision process and review selected content.
f) Finalize / update the DP 5.5 on ecosystem disservices and externalities based on comments received.

Activity 3: Support to the ecosystem service valuation workstream in the partner countries

Specifically, the consultant will:

a) Communicate with the Mexico statistics office and valuation consultant who is developing the estimates of ecosystem service valuation, to provide inputs on the methods used and the estimates obtained
b) Provide guidance and hands on capacity building on methods used for ecosystem service valuation
c) Provide quality assurance services to the Mexico, Brazil and India teams who are working on the ecosystem service valuation, reviewing and commenting on valuation outputs to ensure alignment with the best practices detailed in the guidelines.

Activity 4: Drafting a publishable journal article based on the report on the impacts of the COVID19 pandemic on agriculture and food systems.

Qualifications/special skills

Academic Qualifications: Advanced level University degree in statistics, economics, political sciences, international studies and development, environmental sciences, or a related field. A first level degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.
Experience: A minimum 10 years of proven experience within the government administration, UN system, non-governmental organization, consultancy service or a related organization.

Experience in the area of national accounting, environment statistics or environmental-economic accounts is desired. Knowledge on ecosystem modelling is required.

Experience in organizing and implementing projects on ecosystem assessment or related field is highly desirable.
Language: English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. Fluency in spoken and written English are essential; Knowledge of another UN official language is an advantage.